CCP Games, developers of the legendary MMO EVE Online, are MMO behemoths achieving new levels of scale and technical complexities time-and-again over nearly two decades since the game’s release.
However, with this level of scale, CCP Games encountered difficulties with sub-par moment-to-moment player experiences caused by in-game mechanics, such as time dilation.
This was not suitable for the game to live on.
Proof Of Concept
CCP Games’ search led them to Hadean, creators of Aether Engine, the world’s first and only distributed online gaming engine for developers.
Behind closed-doors, Hadean demonstrated how EVE Online could run on Aether Engine showcasing a variety of improvements. CCP then agreed to a public technical demonstration, codenamed EVE Aether Wars.
EVE Aether Wars: Phase One
EVE Aether Wars: Phase One was live for an hour during the Game Developers Conference in March 2019, bringing thousands of players together for a death-match in space.
The prototype, built with HadeanOS and Aether Engine, meshed well with existing tools like Unreal Engine allowing for easy development of these dynamically scaling massively multiplayer game worlds.
EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two
Off-the-back of the success at GDC, a team of seven people from CCP Games built EVE Aether Wars: Phase Two in just eight weeks in time for Gamescom 2019.
The cost-effective multiplayer technical demo supported over 4,000 players on a single shard and saw significant performance improvements including 100x bandwidth reductions and an increased the tick rate to 30Hz.
EVE Aether Wars: Phase Three
EVE Aether Wars: Phase Three kicked off during the final stop of the EVE Invasion tour, EVE London. In November 2019 over 2,800 players from 80 countries around the world into a single-sharded game for sixty minutes with a peak of 1,901 players all enjoying a smooth, real-time game experience.
1,024 cores were used globally, enabling players to enjoy a more fully-defined overall game experience and the community channels were filled with praise for progress.
Between the two teams, Hadean and CCP Games were able to go from delivering a raw technology test to a fully-fledged gaming experience equivalent to an early-access MMO title.
Beyond EVE Aether Wars
With HadenOS and Aether Engine, Hadean has shown that it is possible to create a high-quality, globally distributed gaming experience for a massive number of players all within a viable business model that isn’t heavily constrained by severe costs.
In turn, CCP Games has been able to test the next frontier of gaming and the opportunity to harness the full potential cloud.
Using Aether Engine, their team was able to supersede the common constraints and opportunity costs of a traditional development method and instead develop larger, richer games faster and at a lower cost.